The Curse of Strahd
Tser Pool Vistani Encampment
The road gradually disappeared and was replaced by a twisted, muddy path through the trees. Deep ruts in the earth showed evidence of the comings and goings of wagons.
The canopy of mist and branches overhead suddenly gave way to black clouds booming far above. There is a clearing, next to a river that widens to form a small lake several hundred feet across. Five colorful round tents, each ten feet in diameter, are pitched outside a ring of four barrel topped wagons. A much larger tent stands near the shore of the lake, its sagging form lit from within. Near this tent, there were eight unbridled horses drinking from the river.
The mournful strains of an accordion clashed with the singing of several brightly clad figures around a bonfire.
Ten Vistani were standing and sitting around the fire. One particularly heavy man in dressed in a combination of green and purple played his accordion with a large grin. The others sing, eat and drink wine merrily. When we approach the camp, we were signaled to approach. They greeted us without hesitation engaging us in the entertainment, as if long time friends. A place was made for each to sit around the fire, plates of food are brought, also wood cups that are quickly filled with wine. Before long the party joined in the signing and yes and when our cleric was not able to handle his wine.
After a long while, the song ends and man playing the violin halts his music, and reaches for his cup of wine which he drinks thirstily.
A tale told by the Vistani Darzin around the campfire:
“A mighty wizard came to this land over a year ago. I remember him like it was yesterday. He stood exactly where you are standing. He was a charismatic man, he was. He thought he could rally the people of Barovia against the devil Strahd. he stirred them with thoughts of revolt and bore them to the castle en masse.”
“When the vampire appeared, the wizard’s peasant army fled in terror. A few stood their ground and were never seen again.”
“The wizard and the vampire cast spells at each other. Their battle flew from the courtyard of Ravenloft to a precepice overlooking the falls. I saw the battle with my own eyes. Thunder shook the mountainside, and great rocks tumbled down upon the wizard, yet by his magic he survived. Lightning from the heavens struck the wizard, and again he stood his ground. But when the devil Strahd fell upon him, the wizard’s magic couldn’t save him. I saw him thrown a thousand feet to his death.”
“Later, I climbed down to the river to search for the wizard’s body, to see if, you know, he had anything of value, but the River Ivlis had already spirited him away.”
A gypsy stands. After a moment, looking over the party of adventurers he announces, “It was fated that you would visit this humble camp. Madam foretold your coming. Come! She awaits you.”